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LiveCD seems to be becoming the new standard way of installing Linux distributions these days. But I am beginning to hate CD and DVD installer. Optical disks take space and rather hard to reuse. My flaky DVD drive is not helping either.

Flash drives are cheap nowadays, and they easily can contain a typical live cd ISOs. It is possible to turn a flash drive into live usb disk using a software like Unetbootin. I used the version provided from Fedora repos, but Windows users can download the software from the Unetbootin web site.

If you have already got the livecd ISO file, using the Unetbootin is trivial. First, prepare your flash drive. It should have the necessary capacity. For example, for a typical Ubuntu or Fedora LiveCD you need at least 700 MB free space. Unetbootin site recommends a 1 GB flash drive as a minimum. Don’t forget to save the contents of the drive, if any. Choose the disk image option, and point Unetbootin to the appropriate ISO file and the flash drive. Unetbootin will set up the flash drive as needed. I have already created two live USB drive this way, for PartedMagic and Fedora 14.

To use it you need to ensure that your computer is able to boot from USB drives. I found that I have to enable legacy USB support in the BIOS setting to make my computer detect the USB drive at boot.

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